Aiken County Council approves property tax incentive for Vaucluse Mill

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Jul. 20—Aiken County Council voted 9-0 Tuesday to approve a resolution that would provide a property tax incentive for a company that is seeking to purchase the Vaucluse Mill.

The vacant textile factory is located in the small community of Vaucluse, which is near Graniteville.

It is included in the Vaucluse Mill Village Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Vaucluse Mill was part of the Graniteville Manufacturing Co., which William Gregg established in the mid-1840s.

According to County Council's resolution, Vaucluse Mill Invesco LLC "is in negotiations" to buy the mill for $950,000 and plans to preserve and rehabilitate it.

County Council Chairman Gary Bunker told the Aiken Standard that based on his understanding, the mill would be renovated to provide housing.

He also said John Gumpert, who is spearheading efforts to repurpose the old Aiken County Hospital and the Warren Mill, also has a prominent role in the Vaucluse Mill acquisition.

Gumpert is the president of Camden Management Partners in Atlanta, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Under the terms of the resolution, a 20-year special assessment period will begin the day after the deal for Vaucluse Mill Invesco to buy the mill is finalized.

During the first 10 years, the taxable value of the Vaucluse Mill property will be frozen at the purchase price. During years 11-20, the taxable value will double to $1.9 million.

The resolution also states that the "county and school district millage levies used to calculate annual taxes due will be set at 2021 rates and will extend for the full period of the special assessment."

The Vaucluse Mill is at 95 Senn St. and stands on a 5.86-acre parcel.

The current owner is Water Property Holding LLC of Atlanta, according to Aiken County land records.

That company acquired the Vaucluse Mill for $875,000 in 2015 from Community Environmental Company LLC.

Last September, Warren Mill Invesco LLC purchased the Warren Mill in Warrenville for $1.6 million from Warren Mill LLC.

Prior to then, Gumpert told County Council he wanted to refurbish the mill and make it the centerpiece of an apartment complex.

The Warren Mill is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

As for the old Aiken County Hospital in Aiken, the county is in the process of selling it to Aiken Lofts Manager LLC for $2,094,000.

The deal hasn't been finalized yet.

In June, the Aiken Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend to Aiken City Council the approval of Gumpert's request for the zoning of the old Aiken County Hospital property to be changed from Office/Institutional to Planned Residential.

According to Gumpert's application, the old hospital site will become a "multifamily development."

Gumpert has indicated to the county that the old hospital won't be torn down.